In case you don’t, that’s Elon Musk smoking pot with Joe Rogan, on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Rogan’s podcast is filmed in California, where recreational marijuana is legal. YouTube doesn’t have regulations, the way TV, radio and film do, because the Internet is the wild, wild west. Technically, neither Musk nor Rogan did anything illegal nor indecent.
But that doesn’t mean you should start uploading videos of you doing bong hits on your YouTube channel. If you post videos of yourself online smoking weed, and the police see them, they could technically use them as evidence to get a search warrant for your place. If there’s another crime taking place in the video, they can use them as evidence for that, too.
Now, I understand that the likelihood of the local cops viewing your pot post on YouTube is probably slim – but what about college admissions departments? Or potential employers? Or the parents of the person you want to date?
What about your parole or probation officer?
I’m just sayin’ – it’s not smart. No, you can’t get necessarily get arrested for posting a pot video, but the repercussions could be greater than you think.
A quick rundown of penalties for pot
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug – despite its medical relevance – at both the State and Federal levels. Possession of fewer than 10 grams will result in a civil penalty of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for every offense thereafter. After your third offense, you may have to attend drug counseling (unless you’re under 21, in which case you will almost certainly be ordered into counseling, probably for your first offense).
Possession in and of itself is a misdemeanor:
- More than 10 grams but fewer than 50 lbs? $1000 in fines and up to a year in jail
- 50 lbs or more? $1000 in fines and up to 5 years in jail.
But here’s the thing: if you’ve got 50 lbs of marijuana just lying around, then the cops aren’t going to stop there, are they? They’re probably going to charge you with intent to sell or distribute, and that’s a felony: between 1 year and 40 years, and between $1000 and $1 million, depending on whether or not this is your first rodeo.
If you’re caught trafficking marijuana – transporting, selling, importing, distributing: the whole shebang – you could end up in prison anywhere from 5 years to 20 years – for a first offense. Fines range from $10,000 to $50,000. If you’re caught moving between state lines, now it’s a federal offense.
What about Baltimore City?
Marilyn Mosely, the State’s Attorney in Baltimore City, is not longer going to prosecute possession of marijuana. That does not mean that possessing marijuana is legal in Baltimore City. It’s not.
Maryland is moving towards legalization
In March of 2018, medical marijuana came to Maryland, but recreational use of marijuana is still illegal at the state and federal level – as of right now.
The Maryland legislature is considering bills that would allow adults (aged 21 or older) “to possess, consume, grow and purchase cannabis under the legislation. Possession would be capped at one ounce for flower and five grams of concentrate, and individuals could grow up to four plants at a time.” The Senate version would allow for the expungement of records for people who were convicted of pot-related crimes; the House version wants to put legalization on the ballot.
That being said, Governor Hogan isn’t fully onboard yet. So what I’m really saying is, yes – it appears legalized weed is coming to Maryland, but it might not get here are soon as you’d like.
My name is Drew Cochran, and I’ve been working with people accused of marijuana-related drug crimes for 20 years. I know what I’m doing, and I want to help. If you’re facing drug charges or any kind, work with an Annapolis defense lawyer you can trust. Please call my office – Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law – at 410-777-8103, or fill out my contact form.
Just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.